On or about April 6, 2015, the Town of Weymouth (“The Owner”) submitted a Statement of Interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) for the Maria Weston Chapman Middle School. The MSBA is an independent public authority that administers and funds a program for grants to eligible cities, towns, and regional school districts for school construction and renovation projects. The MSBA’s grant program is discretionary, and no city, town, or regional school district has any entitlement to any funds from the MSBA.
At the November 9, 2016 MSBA Board of Directors meeting, the MSBA Board voted to issue an invitation to the Town of Weymouth to conduct a feasibility study for this Statement of Interest to identify and study possible solutions and, through a collaborative process with the MSBA, reach a mutually-agreed upon solution.
Mayor Hedlund accepted the MSBA invitation, appointed a School Building Committee and filed a measure to fund a $1 million feasibility study, which the Weymouth Town Council approved.
Project Objectives and goals the Town originally considered included:
o Reduce the number of student transitions between schools; by redistricting and consolidating grade levels;
o Include the option of a separate cafeteria and auditorium to address the significance of those facilities to the Community, taking into consideration the architectural design as well as community support for fine and performing arts;
o Address potential future enrollment increases;
o Consider designs and spaces incorporated into a building that will allow community access and events outside of school hours such as a common auditorium/ learning/ conference space;
o Provide spaces that allow the district the capacity to utilize their electronic curriculum and learning tools in all areas of the building;
o Consider redistricting and space issues across the district including the need for additional pre-school development classrooms, and spaces for kindergarten;
o Provide integrated space for specialized education services (SPED) for current and future SPED programs within the district;
o Address life cycle costs of operating the school as it relates to future operational budgets;
o Review Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools (NE-CHPS) criteria or US Green Building Council’s LEED for Schools.
In August of 2018, The School Building Committee approved and submitted its Preferred Schematic Report for the design of a New Chapman Middle School to the MSBA. Since then, the School Building Committee has submitted (and the MSBA has approved) more detailed designs at three subsequent stages: Schematic Design (February, 2019); Design Development (November, 2019) and 60% Construction Documents (April, 2020).
The New Maria Weston Chapman Middle School is designed to house 1,470 students in grades 6-8 on the site of the existing school. The site will be vacated during construction with the 8th grade students moving into temporary spaces within the Weymouth High School and the 7th grade students relocating into the Adams Middle School. At the same time, 5th grade, which is currently in the Adams Middle School, will move into permanent modulars placed at multiple town elementary schools. At the conclusion of the project, and after town wide primary school redistricting, the Adams School building will become Weymouth’s ninth K-5 elementary school.
The old Chapman building will be fully demolished with the exception of the existing gymnasium block. The new Chapman Middle School will be 252,170 square feet. This includes 220,880 square feet of new construction along with 31,290 square feet of renovated gymnasium block space.
Early but limited abatement and demolition is set to begin in April, 2020. The 100% Construction Documents are scheduled to go out to bid in August, 2020, with the full construction phase starting soon after the award. The New Maria Weston Chapman Middle School is scheduled to open in September of 2022.
The total project budget for the New Chapman Middle School is $164.2 million, with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) reimbursing the Town of Weymouth for 61% of all eligible costs, which is expected to amount to $57.3 million. With the Town funding $10 million of the project cost within the tax levy, on April 30, 2019, Weymouth voters approved a debt exclusion override for the remainder of the project cost ($96.9 million).